is a compact city. The Old Town is one of the most visited towns and also the oldest, dating back to the 13th century. West of Old Town is New Town Amsterdam which was built later but also dates back to the Middle Ages. Both towns form the center of the early coastal settlements. Dam Square is located in the center of New Town and is most notable for the buildings and facades around the square, including the Royal Palace, Nieuwe Kerk ("New Church"), Madame Tussauds Museum, and the National Monument is located.
Below is the Royal Palace. The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy and the current Prime Minister is Mark Rutte whose office is located in the
. While Amsterdam is the official capital of Amsterdam, the monarch and parliament are located in The Hague.
And here is the facade of the New Church ("Nieuwe Kerk"), built at the beginning of the 17th century, when Amsterdam's population increased dramatically and the old church could not accommodate all the parishioners.
Here are quarters of the New Town.
While there are many attractions and sites to see in Amsterdam, sometimes you just need to stop in to one of the local beerhouses and enjoy a cold glass of Amstel and people watch:
Amsterdam's canal network is extremely complex. Pleasure boats take tourists through the intricate framework, passing the iconic arches and bridges, which passengers happily touch. In this regard, Amsterdam is similar to St. Petersburg.
In the center of Muntplein Square stands the Coin Tower ("Munttoren”) stands. With a polygonal base, the Munttoren was once one of the main gates of the old City Wall. In 1619 the clock tower was built over it and in 1699 the bells were installed. Munttoren, or "Mint Tower", got its name in honor of a mint factory that had stood there since 1673.
Amsterdam (again, as well as St. Petersburg) is home to a host of intricately built bridge system:
Cycling is the main form of transportation in Amsterdam:
Drawbridges over the canals...
This is life on urban highways.
Crossing the bridge over the Amstel river:
Locks on the Amstel River are used to ensure that the water in the canals do not stagnate - they are closed four times a week in summer and twice a week in winter: During that time, the water from the lakes located north of the city fills the canals of Amsterdam. When the water level rises, the locks open again and the water flows into the sea. This is how water flow is provided through the
Below is, perhaps, the most famous of Amsterdam's 1400 bridges, a wooden drawbridge called Magere Brug. Initially, the drawbridge was built in 1671. According to legend, it was named in honor of two sisters who lived on opposite sides of the Amstel River. However, it is likely that this name came from the bridge’s narrow (mager) construction. In 1871 the bridge was widened, but its appearance has not changed.
Leisure boats come from side canals, crossing the wide Amstel river before entering other canals:.
Below is the historic Blue Bridge that got its name from the old wooden drawbridge, which stood here from 1600 to 1883, and was painted blue, one of the colors of the national flag of the Netherlands. Although the name remains the same, the bridge is now made of metal:
Above: a light show begins over one of the canals: